Greenhouse Kit

My wife bought an 8 foot by 12 foot greenhouse kit from Harbor Freight, details at:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber358
Our neighbor bulldozed a level foundation last weekend and I took off work today to spend the day getting the frame leveled and secured. This Saturday, if it doesn't rain, I'll continue the project, adding the base plates and constructing the walls. With any luck, I'll get the roof on, too.
If anyone out there has had experience with this sort of thing, I'd appreciate any tips or potential problems in the construction process. I'm fairly skilled in home repairs and mechanical work, and this job looks like just bolting together a lot of aluminum rails, then clipping in the window panes. However, from my experience with similar projects in the past, there's usually one or two unexpected complications that make the job difficult, and I'd like to be forewarned.
Thanks,
Paul Maryland, USA
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No advice to offer, just wanted to congratulate you on one helluva deal. :-)
I love harbor freight!
I have 3 of those "popup" greenhouses, like a big tent, that go up in about 30 minutes.
I like yours better. <g>
--
Peace, Om

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Just looked at that greenhouse, and US$700.00 must be a good deal for such a sizeable one. I could do with one just like that in SA (US$ multiplied by at least 7 to equal our currency!).
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Since you are putting this on a foundation, a in-floor heating system might be beneficial. When we built the chicken house this spring, we put radiant tubing in the floor (for water to flow through). It now ends three feet outside but will later be run through the bottom of the compost bin to provide the little bit of heat to take the chill off in the winter. I wanted the radiant heat because it is totally free after installation and absolutely clean. Mine is in concrete because I wanted a concrete floor to make the chicken house vermin proof; the floor has a drain so it can be completely cleaned periodically and to drain any liquid that might get spilled inside.
Even if you have a gravel base in your greenhouse, you can still put in the radiant tubing; it really is rather tough though it won't be as effective as in concrete as the concrete holds heat better than gravel. There really is no need to connect it to anything yet as you can do that later (being sure to leave plenty of pipe outside to connect) and finish it as you have time and decide for certain what heat source you want to use. It will cost you a couple of hundred dollars now but will pay off over the years.
If you have the space, you can add the "heating run" 2-3 feet under the ground in the garden. That is how many homes were heated in days gone by and is coming into favor again with the heat source being a furnace to heat the water in the pipes.
A greenhouse is in the plan for next year, but I have decide, in addition to the piping in the floor for radiant heat, I want the foundation two to three feet below ground level to help heat the floor from the surrounding ground. There are several in our area built like that. It should also help with cooling in the summer.
Of course, for your shelves, you can get systems to keep them warm as you wish, that have heating cables built in.
I like the idea that is used in Europe but definitely not for us town dwellers. Their greenhouse will have concrete walls 3-4 feet up with an additional concrete wall 3-4 feet out and put their stock manure from the barns in that "trough." As it decomposes, it provides all the heat that is needed for the greenhouse and leaves behind wonderful compost. They must also have a way to shovel the compost out from the outside edge of the wall or maybe they rotate which walls they use each year so half have good aged compost at all times.
These things pay off over the years but do take some pre-construction planning.
Good luck, wishing you many, many years of happy green-housing.
Glenna
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